Tuesday 8 October 2013

John Leadman - Death in the Queen's Prison of a Broken Heart

My meanderings since this morning researching the Leadman family on and off whilst 'resting' (ha! I prepared veg, cooked, hoovered, changed the bedding, washed three lots of bedding and changed the covers in the sitting room - my daughter is coming to stay at the weekend and I wanted things 'nice') resulted just now in a really sad newspaper cutting.
A newspaper cutting, edited text below.
Morning Post 23 Sep 1845 (from Find My Past Newspapers)

This cutting refers the death of a John Leadman, from Barnsley, formerly a plumber and glazier whilst in prison in London in September 1845.

He is the uncle of the John Leadman I wrote about this morning who was the landlord of the Star Inn, Church Street, Barnsley from 1822 to 1845. 

The report quotes his daughter Eliza as saying that she had not seen her father since he was taken away from her in July 1844 in Leeds.  The family were unable to "put an answer in" to the charge as "it took too much money".  He had been "committed for contempt for not putting in the answer to a bill in which in Mary Hollicks was the plaintiff". 

His nurse, an Eliza Burton, said that he had been "very much depressed in mind ... and appeared to suffer great mental anxiety about his family, not one of whom had visited him in his incarceration".  Oh, what a shame.  Poor chap!

This John Leadman was born in 1777 and appears to have been married twice, firstly in 1805 to Mary Raywood - according to Family Search he marries her twice, firstly in York on 7 November and then at St Mary's Barnsley on 11 November.  Well, why not?  

Incidentally this has drawn my attention to the fact that the marriage records for St Mary's Barnsley on Ancestry are not complete.  There do not appear to be images or transcriptions for marriages prior to 1813 - the baptisms and burials are there - but not the marriages.  Odd!
Handwritten burial records - John son of John Leadman Jnr & Mary Raywood of Barnsley (infant) Croup June 5th and Mary wife of John Leadman of Barnsley Glazier aged 28 Consumption Sept 5
Burial register of Royston, St John from 1807 (from Ancestry)

Sadly he loses his first born son and his wife both within a few months in 1807.  His son John dies of "croup" and his wife of "consumption" in September.  You don't often get the cause of death in burial registers - these are very rare records.  He marries again, to Ruth Walker, in Silkstone church in 1809.  This time things go a little better and they have at least seven children in the next few years. 

Unfortunately John's children appear to have a tendency to die young.  His son William Henry is only eight months old when he dies, his daughter Sarah Ann is just short of three years old.  Another John dies at either three years or five years (there are two burials for John Leadman - and what do you know the Ancestry records for burials at St Mary's don't start until 1859 - another glitch - it's a good job I've got a copy of the burials as transcribed by the Barnsley Family History Society to work with).  A daughter Caroline dies aged eight months (all of these are calculated from the baptism dates so the children may be a little older), which leaves just three children, Eliza, Olivia and Alexander.

Leadman John, Market Street - Plumber and Glazier
Baines Trade Directory 1822
(from Historical Directories)
In 1822 John appears in a Trade Directory for West Yorkshire as a Plumber and Glazier at Market Street, Barnsley.  In the same directory I found his nephew John Leadman on Church Street, a butcher and at the Star Inn, and a Joseph Leadman, another butcher on Sough Bridge (now Peel Square), and a James Leadman at the Waggon and Horses also on Sough Bridge.  These last two are his brothers.

By 1834 John Leadman, Plumber and Glazier has moved to Leeds.  I have found a reference to him being the Superintendent of the Works at the Leeds New Gas Light Company.  By 1841 he is living on "Independent Means" in Queens' Square in Leeds.

Leeds New Gas Light Comany - Established 1834.  Office Bank Street,Works Meadow Lane.  All the Gas of this company is sold by meter at 8s per thousand cubic feet.  Mr John Leadman, Superintendent of Works, Mr Jas Oates, Collector.
From the 1834 General Commercial Directory of Leeds (from Historical Directories)
So I wonder what goes wrong?  Why does he end up just three years later being taken away for failing to "put an answer in" to a charge because it costs too much money?  It's a mystery!  What a sad life John had, losing a wife and five children and then being thrown in prison and dying alone miles from home. 

A simple burial entry - John Leadman, Queens Bench, 24th [Sept] 70 [years old]
1845 John Leadman's burial at St George the Martyr Southwark, London
(from Ancestry)
John is buried from St George the Martyr in Southwark, London.  As you can see his residence is given quite plainly as Queens Bench - the prison.  The newspaper cutting I first started with notes that he could have asked to be released on the grounds that he was a pauper, but his pride didn't let him.  Unfortunately his circumstances were such that he probably went to a pauper's grave, unmarked.

His wife Ruth dies aged 72 in Leeds in 1857, and his daughters Eliza and Olivia become school teachers.  His son Alexander becomes a surgeon and has one son himself with the fantastic name of Alexander Dionysius Hobson Leadman - he too becomes a doctor and also writes books.  It's a good name to Google!  At least the rest of the family doesn't seem to have become terribly impoverished by whatever it was that happened in 1844/45.  Hmm, not sure if I approve of them abandoning their father like that! 

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